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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Tuesday Night in Manhattan? Sure. Starring Chappo!!

Modern Rivals, Dominion NYC

Burp Castle on E 7th St

NYC Hat store open until 1am

Naturally a purchase was made (not by me)

Historic McSorley's

Amazingly it was more subdued here than Burp Castle.  2 great mugs!!

Ukrainian store next to McSorley's.  Nesting dolls= Super cool

New Cooper Union building looks  so odd in this neighborhood.  Modern in the land of brownstones.

Chappo.  Not ideal photo venue.

The aluminum foil "moon" effects were simple and effective.

Looking forward to seeing these guys in bigger venue.  Hear that Bowery Presents????

Over the past few weeks I have heard the Eleanor Roosevelt quote "Do one thing every day that scares you" on a few occasions.  It also follows me daily due to its prominence on lululemon bags...  of which there are several around my home.  You can never have enough black workout pants ya know???

The quote is memorable in addition to being a solid life plan.  What fun is it playing it safe and taking the easy route?

And why can't an ordinary Tuesday evening become extraordinary?

Gonna be tired in the morning?  No doubt.

Wednesday gonna suck and drag longer than other days?  Probably.  But if I got an uninterrupted 8 hours sleep there was a good chance the day would still suck.  The clients and their problems are not going anywhere.  Nor are the bills...  or homework...  or softball coaching obligations.  Life is an unending series of excruciating events in which we attempt to balance the fine line separating laughter from tears.   That is not a complaint, merely a fact.  

Andy Dufresne learned how to echo Roosevelt's sentiment:  "Get busy living, or get busy dying."  Still think Morgan Freeman's voice uttering that line is among Hollywood's finest achievements.

Last night was one of those special NYC nights.  A night that began with little to zero expectations will undoubtably end up on this blogs best of 2012.  

NYC band Chappo released their first full length LP "Moonwater" yesterday.  It is a mix of psychedelia and pop with enough layers to interest classic rock fans, Dead heads, hipsters and the rave crowd.  Smart and funny.  Off beat and mainstream.  This is a very promising record and a band confident enough to sell it.  The show last night was the album's formal record release party.  And what a party it was...  down to the balloons, confetti and booze!

It starts with singer and band namesake Alex Chappo.  His soaring, John Fogerty-esque, is a real treat.   He has a vibrant twang and soul that brings his words to life.  

The show began with their with the 80s infused "What Are You Kids on?"  Rapidly sung lyrics over pounding drums and easy chair guitar licks.  Sing a long and foot tapping fun for sure.  Be careful, there is a  California-tinged,  Joe Walsh vibe going on here.  Good to see the wa wa pedals in full effect too.  They have a similar feel to other up and comers like Givers, Real Estate, Grouplove and Caveman.  

Chappo welcomes the long riff and jam led by keyboardist and co-founder Chris Olson.  The hypnotic and infectious "5-0" included such a jam.  The song, and their live re-imaging, stood out for sure.  As did their hit single "Come Home."  The song, from 2010 and used in a Ipod ad years back, was played to a slower tempo and Chappo handled it with a deft touch.  It is an early front runner for Summer Song 2012.

Dominion NY (Dominion NY) was a great sounding venue- seriously the most crisp and well mic'd band I have heard in a while!!!- and worthy of a return visit.  It is a cleaner, more spacious Mercury Lounge if you will.  

These boys deserve bigger.  Based on how they perform their material look for them in the Bowery Presents circle real soon.  A tour is forthcoming and you should be on the lookout.  Start here and thank me later: and for more bio/expository stuff:  Chappo piece re: SXSW

Other Highlights:

Leaving close to 7:30 from NJ and being parked in SoHo before 8 (free street parking mind you!!) was a plus.  As was the burger joint SoHo Park Time Out NYC review located on Prince and Lafayette.  Not the best meal and far from the best wait staff in town...  but a quick and efficient sandwich and better than average hand cut fries made it worth while.  10 minutes in we had beers and our food order. Now that I think of it it should have been spaced better...  it allowed for more beers than necessary.

Dominion NY is near Astor Place and since Chappo started at (GASP- 11pm) we had some time to explore some East Village favorites.

We had not been to Burp Castle in many, many years. (Burp Castle on Facebook)  Located on 7th St the floor level bar is filled with large fresco's of Belgian Monks in various scenes of beer tom foolery.  Way back when the place played Gregorian chants and its servers were dressed in brown monk's garb. Oh, and you had to remain silent when worshiping their extensive selection of Belgian ales.

Gone are the "monk" servers and silence.  At least it was last night.  Must have been some home brew meeting or something.  Loud, overweight middle aged men with bellies full of their crafts romping and hollering throughout.  "Try some mead" they implored us.  There were even fake Viking hats on a few of them.  And this place is small!!  Naturally when I made an attempt to move past a drunken lass (the center of all the Viking attention) I knocked over/shattered an empty glass vessel.  "Aargh!!!" they shouted as I whisked my maiden to safer harbors.

Would you believe the safe harbor was the notoriously raucous and unapologetically low brow McSorley's Pub (  We got right up to the bar and had blacks and tans.  No frills.  No fanfare.  Most rewarding and comfortable to say the least.  Central casting could never replicate the bar keepers on staff- older gentlemen with white aprons cut from the definition of "old school."  Ready with a joke or a piece of information at a moments notice.  Approachable and aloof at the same time.  When asked how many mugs are on the premises they conferred to get an accurate number.  I guessed 5 thousand.  Their estimate was more like 4 thousand.  Mugs washed over and over in a drop down sink.  Mugs filled over and over with beer since way back in 1854.  NYC's oldest bar and never has it felt so new.  A step back in time and a smile inducer for sure.  Next time we eat the burgers!!

There was some hat shop too that excited someone in my party too.   Never underestimate the retail stop during your walking tours!  A happy date is a good date.  

A Tuesday evening so bloody worthy we have toyed with trying it all again tomorrow night.  Justin Townes Earl at Webster Hall?  Delicate Steve at Bowery?  Where to eat?  Grab a drink?  

Anywhere and anytime.  The moment we stop searching for the next adventure is the moment we lose relevance.  Scared?  

Then head right toward it.


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